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Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Posted by chewtoy (My Page) on
Wed, May 28, 08 at 13:29

We are renting a house for 3-4 months while our own house is being renovated. The rental house is in the next neighborhood from where we currently live, but we don't know any of the people around.

We moved in 4 weeks ago, and believe me, you wouldn't have missed it--big moving truck (brought almost all our stuff over), and over the next couple of days, the phone guy, the oil guy, etc. etc.

Well, maybe I'm living in another time or place, but I really truly expected the doorbell to ring, and for people to introduce themselves and say hello. So far, and it's been 4 weeks, not a single person has stopped by, even when we have been outside in the yard! On the rare occasion that we have had new people move into our own neighborhood, I have always baked something and brought it over and introduced myself. Am I the only one left who does this? Have times changed so much? I really can't figure this out. Is it our job to walk around and introduce ourselves? Is it because people might know that we are renting short-term and the house is going to be torn down when we leave? Any thoughts??


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

"Is it because people might know that we are renting short-term and the house is going to be torn down when we leave?"

I'd say that pretty much covers it.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

"Am I the only one left who does this?"

Not the ONLY one, but close to it. I think what you are talking about doesn't happen too often anymore.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

It depends on the neighborhood, as well. Let me illustrate.

In 1993, I moved to Homestead, Florida. I'd been working down there for about 6 months when I found a nice house in an upscale neighborhood at the very end of a cul de sac so I could move my wife and kids down. We drove in at about 7 pm, and by the time the uhaul was unloaded, it was well past 9 pm, too late to bring the truck back and turn it in. Our cars were in the driveway, so we parked the uhaul on the street for the night. At 11:30 pm, we were awakened by a knock at the door. When I got up to answer the door, it was Metro Dade sheriffs deputies demanding the truck be moved off the street, or it would be impounded, by request of our next door neighbor. It was nowhere near their property, and for the most part, WAS off the street, but technically, two tires were on the pavement, as the cops pointed out to us, so the truck had to be moved. That was our "welcome to Homestead". 3 years later, when I finally got so sick of the people down there that I just couldn't stomach them any more, we moved back up here to Maine. The town we moved into had 830 year round residents, and our moving into town was big news (there were 6 of us). When we got in, it was about 10 am, and we had people from across town coming over to help unload the truck. Additionally one couple-- the wife made a TERRIFIC lobster casserole (her husband was a lobsterman) and he'd filled the back of his truck up with firewood and brought it over for us. The following day, we took the kids to school to register them. The entire school (K-8) came to the windows (all 100 kids, +/-) to check out the "new kids", and did their best to make our kids feel very welcome. In both cases we were renting, so that had nothing to do with the difference. One difference was that down in Florida, I think we were considered the "riff raff" because I was a tradesman. Up here, most of the people in town were all working class, so to speak-- fishermen, boat builders, contractors, etc.. They weren't "too good" to associate with us.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Big fences and thick walls make good neighbors :-)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I think being friendly, if not chummy (sometimes folks just don't have much in common) makes a very nice neighborhood. Ours is pretty stable, but last fall a young couple moved into the house across the street that had been the blight in the neighborhood for the 26 years we have lived here. Gosh, I went over before they were moved in, introduced myself, chatted, offered any help they needed and always speak when we are outside. I can't imagine living where people aren't friendly. It would make me want to stay in the house all the time. I am sorry you are living in that situation, even for 4 months. Come here to GW, when you need a hug!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

bill you can move next door to me anyday!

chewey...in alaska you don't get much of a welcom wagon either (unless you're bill) because this is such a transient town. the majority of people don't last through their first winter...so no one invests too much time getting to know you because of the likelyhood you'll soon leave. but after yera one is through...then the welcome wagon gets rolled out till they roll over you :) its a funny thing...but after being here a few years i totally understand.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I couldn't agree more. There just does not seem to be any community caring anymore. I am by myself and doing a major remodel, with no kitchen for four months. Not one neighbor has offered to bring dinner or anything. People's lifes are just too busy to be bothered.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I'm glad that you vented. As soon as I get home, I'm going to do something for my new neighbors. Every time I think about it, I'm running late or I'm in the middle of a project. No more excuses.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Have times changed so much? I really can't figure this out. Is it our job to walk around and introduce ourselves?

unfortunately, yes, they have. we live in an era of 4000+ sqft. homes where people have home theaters, gyms, and multi-car heated attached garages, so they never have to leave their house or car. and yes, as the previous poster stated, it's because people are just too darn busy.

many many people (especially in the 'burbs) go from their house to their attached garage, drive to work or wherever, and then drive right back into their garage without ever having to set foot in the actual neighborhood in which they live.

no need to take a walk, instead, work out on the treadmill in front of the tv. kids don't go to the park, they play in the backyard on the fancy swingset or trampoline. nobody needs to go anywhere because we've all spent so much time making sure our homes can provide us with every little thing our hearts might desire.

hence, the loss of community. the internet also plays a part because boards like this provide a bit of that "community feeling" that people yearn for, so they don't seek it out locally.

we were fortunate enough to move into an "old school" neighborhood last fall and we did get three neighbor visits, 2 pies (one homemade, one bought) and an invite to a neighborhood cocktail party. but that's rare, and in no small part due to the fact that our city is old, well-established, and home to many people in their 70's and 80's.

it's a shame, really, and it's something that my wife and i make a big effort to avoid in our lives.

ways that we've found that help cultivate involvement in local community are:

get a dog and take it for a walk around the neighborhood three times a day.

have a kid or two and take them for walks or to nearby parks.

go to the library and participate in events, readings, etc...

go to local farmer's markets

be a 'good samaritan' when you see something amiss in your neighborhood.

buy a snowblower and clear the sidewalks after a big snow.


there are a lot of ways to do it...but it takes work. you can't just expect community to come to you. you have to cultivate it.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

jeez bill, i wish you'd move in next door to us. obviously they didn't know who you were. ;*))


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Our neighborhood is one of the main reasons we chose to sink some money into the kitchen rather than move. I swear it would have been easier to move!

No, when we moved in, people did not bring us food, but over a period of a few weeks, we got to know our immediate neighbors. As a few months rolled on, we got to know more of the extended neighbors. We are in an area with a series of cul-de-sacs, and we now know most of the people on the 4 cul-de-sacs and are very close friends with several.

The neighborhood consists of a mix of families with young children, families with high-school-aged children, and people either in retirement or nearing it. As a result, it's a great place for the kids, and most of us realize how lucky we are to have it.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I think it's dependent on the neighborhood AND the neighbors themselves.

We moved in last year and I worked HARD (and I mean worked) on meeting my neighbors. Our neighborhood is comprised of 2 LARGE developments with each house on 1acre of land.
- I'd take my 2 toddlers out for SO MANY MANY walks, just hoping I'd see a neighbor gardening or playing w/ their kids, so that I could say hello/introduce ourselves.
- in 1 year, I've hosted 4 BBQs inviting the ~10 nearby neighbors to every BBQ. W/ each BBQ, we got to meet more and more neighbors.

While we've gotten really really close to 2 sets of neighbors (one helps walk our dog when we travel, and we have rotating dinners with another set), there are still neighbors who chooses to keep to themselves. Not even a real "Hi" when we walk by (on one of my many walks). This same neighbor didn't even know another neighbor when they ran into each other (long story about my dog/his dog) even though they've lived diagnally from each other for over 15 YEARS!!!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

During the week before we actually moved into this house (3 yrs ago), I was in the house painting every day. During that week, the neighbor 3 doors down brought over and gave us the Girl Scout cookies that the previous owner of our house had ordered. Three other neighbors stopped by and introduced themselves (one brought flowers).

Our neighborhood was built in around 1915-1920. There are 34 bungalows on our block. Our lots are 37'x125' and our homes are 14 feet apart. We can wave to each other through our windows.

Now, because our village promotes block parties, we know every resident on our block, except for 1 house.

I can't imagine not /welcoming/knowing/interacting neighbors, but I agree with the comments that subdivision homes on 1 acre lots with attached garages sure don't encourage even laying eyes on your neighbors, let alone chatting with them.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

"Diagonally"

I forgot to add: while no one did anything for us when we moved in, I made a huge pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonades for my neighbors when they moved in, with a welcoming note attached (w/ our contact info). It was ~90 degrees and I thought the lemonade would be refreshing.

So it's really up to the neighbors themselves.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I try to be nice. Sometimes too nice. I showed up on the doorstep to meet new neighbors a few years ago with cookies in hand - and I think I freaked my new neighbor out. OK, so the moving people were still there and she was 8 months pregnant, but come on...we joked about it later - so when they moved out recently (I swear it wasn't because of me) I waited a little longer to meet the new neighbors.

We have a friendly neighborhood - but part of the fact that I know a bunch of neighbors is that we are all stay at home moms. Our neighbor across the street have twins the same age as my 4 year old but since they both work, we don't see them as often.

I do have to say that we love our neighborhood and wouldn't move across town for a bigger house in order to stay...


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I'm going to remind you guys that sometimes it's a blessing to not know some of your neighbors. :) I know that's mean but our next door neighbors were going through a divorce and they would come and talk about one another to us. We would tell them we didn't want to get in the middle but they would catch us while we were out gardening and here they would come! You couldn't get away! That's when I learned what my husband meant by "Make No eye contact". :)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I agree with greenthumbfish. Most of your new neighbors probably know the situation. Can you really blame them for not making too much of an effort?

I live in a terrific, friendly neighborhood. The kind of neighborhood where people move in for the community, not the houses. The kind of neighborhood where people really do bring food over to the new family moving in. But the house right next door to me is a rental, and there's been a new family in there every year for the 7 yrs I've been in that spot. At first I made a big effort to welcome people moving into the rental, but I've pretty much given up. I feel a little burned by the situation, too: We became very close with the first two families that lived there after we moved in, and it was really hard for me and my kids when they each moved out a year later. I hardly even pay attention to the moving vans anymore.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I'm the type of person that can carry on a conversation with a total stranger at the store, but I keep to myself at home. We have a home to our right, and to the left is an easement that leads to a few homes (too far to be chummy neighbors). Anyhow, the neighbors on the right are renters and rude as heck- they are actually pigs (mom drove across my yard when someone was blocking her driveway). One day my friend and I were in my driveway, we had just picked our kids up from school across the street, when all of a sudden I hear fighting. I look over at rude renters house and their 17 year old daughter is fighting with the father of her infant in their driveway. Normally, I'd look the other way. My friend and I stared in amazement when we saw the girl storm away carrying the baby in the car seat, letting it sway back and forth eventually bumping into the car. The baby's daddy went after her and brought the baby back to his car. Of course my friend and I were looking, and the girl had the nerve to yell VERY NASTY things at me. She sure got an earful from me. I tried to speak with her mother, but she slammed the door in my face.

I think I would have preferred to just be ignored.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

The few times we've moved my hubby would start with a warning "not to coffee clutch with the neighbors." Yet, he'd be the first one on the scene if someone had a problem with their car or needed a hand moving something heavy and definitely anything cut with a chainsaw! He is a friendly guy but just doesn't know it!

In our latest house of 15 years I was approached by the 'Welcome Wagon.' She was a nice lady from down the street and her first question was, so when are you gonna change this crazy color? I burst out laughing because when we looked at the home the living room was painted lavendar. I changed it to a light pink because I have several antique lithographs that basically have a lot of tan and a little pastel to them and thought the pink background showed them off best. She looked thoroughly embarrassed when I told her I just painted it. She was a sport though and turned me on to the local yoga class (which she instructs) and all the best places to shop nearby, etc.

On the other hand we have another set of neighbors close by that we call "the Perfects". Their yard is perfect, their children are perfect, their boat is perfect....They police the neighborhood and don't like it when a boat or car is parked at the end of the neighborhood with a for sale sign on it. They think it brings down the neighborhood. We live in an area of homes that are on acreage and the guy that owns where the boats & cars go for sale is friendly and agreeable about letting them sit there. But the Perfects call the police. Sigh.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

When we moved into our house in the summer of 2005, I was so surprised at how nice and friendly our neighbors were. Our neighbors across the street baked muffins and brought them over in a nice basket to welcome us. Lots of people stopped by and said hello, etc. I had moved from NYC, where I did not know the names of the people who lived in the other two apartments on my floor for 4 years. There were only 3 apartments on each floor. (Not to give all of NYC a bad name. In the building I lived in for 8 years right before we moved, we knew almost everyone in the building, believe a blessing AND a curse).

When new neighbors moved in across from us, we invited them over for a barbecue right after they moved in.

We live in a particularly friendly neighborhood, I think. But if people do know you are living there only temporarily, and that the house will be torn down, I'm not shocked that people aren't more friendly.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Here's a different take:

About 12 years ago, I started a ladies social group that meets 1 time a month in various neighbors homes. There are about 300 homes in my subdivision. We put an invite flyer and questionnaire to our monthly meetings in the new neighbor pack from the homeowners association. In 12 years, I have received 5 questionnaires back. I also dropped flyers with the next meeting date at the new neighbors homes with a handwritten note that we couldn't wait to meet them and we would be happy to take them to the meeting, if they liked. I stopped doing that because after 10 years, I received 1 phone call from the flyer.

We usually get about 12-15 ladies at our meetings--not a high turnout from 300 houses. For our December holiday meeting we get about 25 attendees. In addition, the meetings and information about the group are listed on the neighborhood website and a monthly sign is put up with the new date--nary a call from those sources. We always wonder why some folks do not want to meet their neighbors. The best we can figure are they are too busy, have too many of their own friends, will not be staying long, can't get a babysitter, lanquage barrier and/or are too shy. The folks that either regularly or semi regularly attend think its great way to not only social network but to find out good contractors and happenings!!!

It is especially important to meet your neighbors when you have children. There was a neighbor who had her 14 year old son watch her 3 year old daughter in their front yard. He went in for a few moments and the little girl walked off. The police were called and told the mom to get all the neighbors she knew to help search. Out of the entire neighborhood, she knew only 1 neighbor and had lived in the neighborhood for over 10 years! The little girl had walked to our neighborhood park and was found safe and sound there playing--she had walked through a wooded area that is not frequented much so nobody saw her walking.

So in essence, it works both ways--folks, both new and old-- have to want to be part of their new neighborhood also.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I guess I must be the oddball. I LOVE all you guys, but I really don't want to know my neighbors or be friends with them. I mean, I want to be friendly and say hello, but I don't want someone stopping by and chatting for a hour or so. I am too busy, and I have found that I often don't have anything in common with them. I have a large family (6 siblings) and we are all very close and like to spend time together. I also have a home church, and did the friend thing, but found that they always seemed to want something from me or for me to do something with them, and when I didn't - they were offended. I really am a very friendly person, I just don't want/need friends in my physical life. LOL. (except all of YOU!!)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

dprisock1027 said: I'm glad that you vented. As soon as I get home, I'm going to do something for my new neighbors. Every time I think about it, I'm running late or I'm in the middle of a project. No more excuses.

I say: Ditto! My new neighbors have been in for two weeks, and I keep meaning to get over there with some goodies, but I haven't found (i.e., made) the time. At least my husband did go over and introduce himself when he saw them outside, so we won't be known as completely rude. :)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I did the opposite - when I bought my new house, I went around to the closest 4-5 new neighbors to introduce myself. I figured that this would leave the door open for them, should they be the friendly drop-by types, and simply let them know what's going on next door even if they're not. Seems to have worked well. Some will become warm wave and chat types and some will be brief nod types, and that's fine with me.

PS: Bill, I'm also in Maine, neighbor. :)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I have found that I often don't have anything in common with them.

except, of course, for the small matter of sharing a common community. you know...little things like all of your local officials, congressional representatives, school districts, the fact that you share the same water supply, breathe the same air, drive the same streets, use the same sewers...that kind of stuff.

i bet if someone wanted to come build a toxic waste dump down the street from you, you'd quickly realize how much you have in common with your neighbors.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

edlakin, of course as a COMMUNITY I share common issues, but I mean on a personal level! There are mornings that I may feel like not taking a shower immediately and may want to relax at home. I don't desire some neighbor ringing my bell at 10 AM. When I am in my home, I like it to be a retreat. I don't think I need to be buddies with my neighbors if I choose not too. I am friendly with them, will stop and chat when I walk by but I don't need or have a desire to have a neighborhood block party. That's me, and I feel I am entitled to that, just as much as someone is entitled to hosting a block party. BTW - if there ever was a block party on my street, I definitely would make an appearance, because I am not rude or unfriendly, but I really wouldn't spend hours there because I just don't have the desire to. I KNOW that others do feel exactly the same, and that is why there is that saying about high fences make good neighbors.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

okey doke. no one's going to force you to do anything you don't want to do, but your post is just about as textbook an example of why the concept of community has vanished in this country as i could come up with.

the home as a retreat. that pretty much sums up what i was getting at in my post upthread a bit. oh, and don't get me wrong--you're "entitled". so is everyone. but doesn't it make you stop and wonder sometimes why we all need to retreat so much? why we feel the need to retreat from our communities? why not taking a shower would be seen as such a barrier to talking to someone?

as far as i'm concerned, i don't see much difference between sharing common issues on a COMMUNITY level vs. a PERSONAL level. if our communities aren't personal, then what is? they are where we raise our kids and live our lives. they impact every breath of air we take, every sip of water we take, and the overall quality of our lives immensely. i'm not sure how you can separate that from your personal life. to me they're one and the same.

and, yes, you're not alone. that's why this topic started, because the OP was bemoaning the loss of community. i agree with the OP that it's a terrible loss. i believe that being part of a supportive community is something that can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, and may ultimately help us *save* more time than we invest in cultivating it. i think people that don't see it that way are short-sighted and selfish.


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social isolation

this is a pretty deep subject to delve into. there's a book out called "bowling alone--the collapse and revival of american community" by robert d. putnam that gets to the heart of this subject. it's a good read and i'd recommend it.

there have also been a lot of studies done about how increasing social isolation (another way to term the loss of community) is detrimental to our lives and is increasing rapidly.

here's a snippet from a recent new york post article:

The comprehensive new study paints a sobering picture of an increasingly fragmented America, where intimate social ties -- once seen as an integral part of daily life and associated with a host of psychological and civic benefits -- are shrinking or nonexistent. In bad times, far more people appear to suffer alone.

"That image of people on roofs after Katrina resonates with me, because those people did not know someone with a car," said Lynn Smith-Lovin, a Duke University sociologist who helped conduct the study. "There really is less of a safety net of close friends and confidants."

If close social relationships support people in the same way that beams hold up buildings, more and more Americans appear to be dependent on a single beam.

Compared with 1985, nearly 50 percent more people in 2004 reported that their spouse is the only person they can confide in. But if people face trouble in that relationship, or if a spouse falls sick, that means these people have no one to turn to for help, Smith-Lovin said.

"We know these close ties are what people depend on in bad times," she said. "We're not saying people are completely isolated. They may have 600 friends on Facebook.com [a popular networking Web site] and e-mail 25 people a day, but they are not discussing matters that are personally important."

Here is a link that might be useful: washington post article about the loss of community


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

When we first moved into our house (1999). We were welcomed by one set of neighbours. A very friendly elderly couple who have now become surrogate grandparents to our children. We also made an effort on our own to meet other people in our area (Made easier by walking the dog!)

I couldn't imagine living in an area where I don't know or don't want to know the people who live around me. Although we don't randomly drop in on all of our neighbours, we always stop & say hello & are interested in what is going on in their lives.

It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get to know the people around you.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I understand what you mean, tinker. I am very outgoing, but when I am home I like to relax.

I get what everyone is saying here. We don't all live the same lives, we are in very different communities. Some have neighbors that drop in unannounced, others have neighbors that just drop the f-bomb. Can't blame those of the latter that prefer to keep to ourselves.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

We live in a rural area in Dutchess County NY. We have 7 acres and the surrounding homes are on larger acreage, as well. There are only 5 year-round homes on our road and the closest "neighborhood" is almost a mile away. I like our privacy and I understand the comment, "but I really don't want to know my neighbors or be friends with them." That being said, we know our neighbors, as neighbors, and have a very casual relationship with them. If there were an emergency situation we know, as do they, that we could call on them for assistance. We look out for one another, albeit from afar, and if we see something odd or threatening, we'll let them know. And we do know many of our "neighbors" who live within a 5 mile radius. Some of us have lived here for a while, some for many years. We are active in our community and support most of our local businesses. We volunteer at various local venues and since news travels quickly, if somone were to need assistance, we'll help if we can. We have some elderly folks who call DH or myself when they need something (a ride to town, the name of a plumber, someone to look after their pets if they're ill). They're not necessarily friends but they're friendly acquaintances.
You do have to work on being a neighbor. You don't have to be best friends, or even particularly like that person, but liking someone shouldn't be the criteria for being a good neighbor. I think being there to help when needed is far more important than being friends.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I have lived in my house for 13 years and in a small town. I have never spoke one word to my neighbor behind me and they have never spoken to me. My neighbor next door works with dh and they speak at work and may mow each others yards when there are times in our lives that they need each others help. Other than that I guess we prefer to be good neighbors/helpers if needed as mrsmarv said. When we lived in our other neighborhood we had block parties and our kids all played together. Are kids are grown and sometimes I miss the neighborhood we left.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I also agree with greenthumbfish.

Tinker, I am there with you. I admit I was afraid to reply because I know being private or introverted is often regarded as negative by those who are not.

Like mrsmarv, I am in a rural area. People often keep to themselves but neighbors still look out for each other, come together on community issues and participate as they choose - key word being choose. Growing up here, people typically develop a preference for greater personal space and privacy. *And, I should note, this type of rural community is not new or lacking, it is simply a different lifestyle.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

When we asked the sellers of our current house about the neighbors, he said "I figured an acre yard says 'stay away'". He was really grumpy. You'd think an acre was an entire farm the way he made it sound.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I did hesitate to post a reply, because I am not a debating type of girl (I am friendly!! LOL) mrsmarv, made some good points, and just maybe I am still a country girl at heart! I wouldn't hesitate to help a neighbor or anyone in the entire town if they needed help. I have brought dinners to families that may have lost a loved one. I drove around a FL neighbor (not mine) bringing bottled water to people after Hurricane Charlie, I am a good neighbor - but I don't want to HAVE to be your friend and invite you over to spend time with me (or me with you). I have owned a business for years in our town, and for 4 years in a row - we won "business of the Year". and the realize was.... FRIENDLY SERVICE. I don't have the need like some people to be everyone's friend, and if you do - that's okay too! I don't look down on you at all, but don't judge me or others if we are not like YOU. "HOME" in the dictionary is described as "a retreat", "a shelter" and that is what me and my family. And it's not like we didn't always have a houseful of our kids friends, we did. Kids were always at our home and always welcome because that was important to my then children.

Anyways.. I said too much already, because I really am not a debater, and I don't think there is a right or wrong way to be!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Thank you to everyone for these thoughtful posts. It is interesting to me to see that people really do have different ideas of what they want in terms of closeness with their neighbors.

I think we were hoping for something midway-- not looking for a new best friend, but would like to have known that there was someone we had met already nearby to run to in case of emergency, or cat feeding, or whatever.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Tinker, you're not alone. I echo your sentiments and then some.

I'm very friendly, kind and fun too. I work with the public and enjoy it very much however.....

Why is it that people assume that because you bought a home in a certain geographic location that you must be *friends* and socialize?
I prefer to choose my friends based on a lot more than geographic location.
As I said, I work with the public daily but, when I'm in my home, I really don't want to be imposed upon unless I've invited you. My home is my private space and I expect it to be respected as such.
Now, out in the yard, etc. makes me fair game and I'll gab with the best of them. If I'm in town for neighborhood outdoor gatherings, I'm there and having a good time.
Oh, and no baked goods for me, thank you very much, unless I've seen the inside of your house and kitchen. ;-)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

i don't think anyone has said that there's an expectation of friendship.

being a neighbor is a relationship in and of itself. i see a lot of people conflating the two. i have no expectation that my neighbors will be my friends. it might happen, but if it doesn't, that's ok.

what i would *like* is to have a friendly, neighborly relationship with the people who live nearby in my area. maybe we know each other's names, feel comfortable asking for small favors like taking in mail or looking after kids or pets for a short time...that kind of thing.

i don't see that as being the same as "being friends". it's hard to be a good neighbor and help people (or ask for help) if you've never met the person before. and, sometimes, it's even harder when you've lived next door or down the street for years but never even spoken.

that's what the article i referenced talks about and the book i mentioned as well. neighbors can be a great support network or safety net of sorts.

you don't have to be friends or socialize (god forbid) to be a good neighbor.

Oh, and no baked goods for me, thank you very much, unless I've seen the inside of your house and kitchen. ;-)

god, that is just so snooty!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I don't think that's snooty at all. I know someone that dresses her kids to perfection, and herself, too. She drives a nice car and is a genuinely great person. Her home is very tiny and I figured it would have a bungalow feel to it. OMG! I am a clutterbug, so I rarely judge people- but the filth!!! I have never seen anything like it. When your kid is walking out of the kitchen and turns to throw the strawberry stem (whatever it's called w/part of the berry still on it)in the trash, but misses, and it lands on the floor (the floor of your raised foundation- nothing covering it yet)and doesn't even care to pick it up- that's disgusting. I can only imagine what else is on that floor.

So, no, not snooty. Maybe health conscious. I'm such a pig when it comes to sweets, I probably wouldn't even think of where it came from and inhale it before the kids got home- who says I have to share!!!!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Well, I did it. I went over to welcome the new neighbor. Older man raising a teenage son by himself. He's an accountant and works a lot. Seemed touched that I offered our help if needed. He doesn't look like the type that will take us up on it but if he does, that will be okay too.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I think it's snooty.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

My DH brought a box of donuts to the state trooper who moved in across the street from us! He thought it would be funnier than the typical cake or brownies. The cop loved it. I brought brownies to another neighbor and she is now one of my closest friends. And when we moved in 6 years ago we received a plant from one of the only two neighbors we had. This is a new development and we were the 3rd family here. We have two pot luck suppers at our community pool house every year and two community yard sales. Many of us host neighborhood get togethers whether it's a BBQ or a New Year's Eve party. This is a very small town but I don't know of one single neighbor of ours who actually grew up here. Some are native to NC but not from this town. So have faith, some people still do the neighborly thing, even in newer developments!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I live in a very friendly neighborhood, and some I do socialize with, and some I don't. But I love that we all say "Hi" to one another, and notice if someone who doesn't belong is in the area (I once started railing at a lady who had pulled her car up, took out a paper bag, and began picking all of the peaches off my neighbor's tree. She actually dropped the bag and took off rather than listen to me telling her she should be ashamed for being a thief)

A neighbor who has moved in and out while I have lived here came up with the best welcome wagon present for new neighbors--she created a page of all the important contact numbers for our neighborhood--fire, police, congressman, garbage, even local pizza places. It was such a great idea!

Carla in Sac


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I have to take a moment and let you know that the type of neighborhood the OT was missing still does exists, even in big cities! I live in Houston (in the actual city and not a suburb) and my subdivision is often referred to as a Mayberry type of neighborhood. This is in fact the second time I've lived here. I lived here first in 2000-2004, moved back "home" to a small town in Louisiana, and then returned back to Houston in 2006. We could have moved to any area of Houston and chose to move 2 blocks from our old house. My neighborhood is the kind where you know your neighbors, kids play outside, we have block parties, neighborhood swim teams, great schools, a 4th of July parade, etc. When someone has a baby, surgery, family crisis, there are endless meals. I had a serious car accident in Feb and had meals for 2 weeks. We are always saying that we are anomally and realize what a unique neighborhood we are. It can be Peyton Place at times but we realize our blessings. This is our 9th house in 16 years and I have lived all over the world. This is by far the best neighborhood we've ever encountered.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

"Oh, and no baked goods for me, thank you very much, unless I've seen the inside of your house and kitchen."

LOL! I was just waiting for this one to surface. I have a dear friend who is a complete slob, so I understand the sentiment.

Interesting discussion, brought it up with my neighbor last night ;-)

We decided it's the luck of the draw and to each his own.

In our previous home, we were welcomed by no one. Somewhat understandable as we were surrounded by bachelors. Yes, bachelors in a kid-raising neighborhood. Two were playboy types who were never home, the other one was retired and did nothing but watch sports from his lazy boy all day/night. How do I know? Front door open with storm door you could see through. ICK!

We moved into our current home 5 years ago. The day before we moved in my next door neighbor and the one across the street were tanning in the sun watching her husband paint the house. I went over and intro'd myself and told them I'd never never thought of painting as a spectator sport ;-)

The day after we moved in, we were invited over for happy hour, and we've been great friends ever since. She and I trade books back and forth. He's a manic DIY - he put in our DW and tiled our half bath! And even though they have kids and we don't, on any given summer weekend you can find both gates open (our carports face each other) and the kids go back and forth from pool to pool and have a blast (their kids learned to swim in our pool before we bought the house and before they put their pool in).

And so it goes...


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Snooty? I kiss my cat on the lips! LOL

Booger fingers, using the bathroom and not washing hands because after all you were only peeing, cigarettes their ashes and smoke, baby diapers - the changing of and forgetting to wash hands because the little one needs something, finger licking, head scratching, picking, an itch you wouldn't scratch in public, oops that fell on the (dirty, perhaps filthy) floor but no one saw, dogs and cats - their slobber and licking of various parts - jumping on counters - fur (I adore animals btw), general filth and the list goes on...

I would never give home baked/cooked anything to anyone that I didn't know or who didn't know good ole' catlip kissing me.

It's bad enough casting your fate to the wind by eating in a restaurant, as anyone who has worked in the industry can attest to.

I am civic and community minded and neighborly to the extent that I will help you if you need help and you won't have to ask.
Kind of like when the house of our neighbors across the street (we only knew them from saying hi) went on fire the day after Christmas and I/we kept their 4 cats along with ours for 6 months so they wouldn't have to be boarded. They came to collect them the day after the fire to take them and were surprised that we had intended to keep them with us after they had been rescued.
Yep, real snooty.
I probably kissed them on the lips too. :-D
Trust me, you would NOT have wanted baked goods from our house. You'd never know by looking at the surface though.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

It's kind of funny. During our kitchen remodel, it never occurred to me that our neighbors would bring us food. And my closest ones knew the grief we were going through.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I don't know what I would do without my neighbors. Call it luck of the draw, but we have close friendships with each other.

One neighbor let me, my husband, and two kids move in for six days while our hardwood floors were being refinished. In addition she found a microwave for me to use in my temporary kitchen, cooked for me, had me to dinner and allowed me to come in and use her stove for make noodles and other things I couldn't do at home any time I wanted.

My other neighbor had me and the kids for late afternoon playdates with dinner often.

We also lived in a rental during the renovation for a few months and found those neighbors to be friendly enough but not in the same way as my at home. Perhaps the "renter" stigma is true??


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

It's bad enough casting your fate to the wind by eating in a restaurant, as anyone who has worked in the industry can attest to.

heh. actually, joanie, i'm a chef who's worked in the restaurant industry for the last 15 years. and i can attest that you're 100% wrong. the overwhelming majority of restaurants have incredibly high standards and eating at them is perfectly safe.

based on what you just posted, i'd say that you've got a bit of a complex about germs and bacteria. most of us who aren't young children, elderly, or people who have problems with their immune systems manage to coexist quite happily with the millions of bacteria that occupy our guts at any given moment. and it's been like that for as long as anyone can remember--back before the days of anti-bacterial everything. really! it's a wonder anyone survived at all!

so, yes, i'm well versed in sanitation standards and food safety. the restaurant that i run serves 800-1000 people every day without incident. and, yes, i happily eat food that people prepare for me in their home kitchens--in fact, i'm honored that they went to the trouble and thought of me. and, yes, i'm still here, alive and kicking.

so, yes. hate to break it to you, but....snooty.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

joanie b - LOL, Do cats have lips?

edlakin -- I knew I liked you. I totally agree. I am a restaurant owner and I can tell you that we have never missed more than 2 points on our sanitation inspections, (the 2 we missed.... employees putting their lunch on bottom shelf of walk-in and some other benign issue.) We also eat out quite a bit and never fear the restaurants we patronize.

Likewise I take food to families often for new babies, injury, or illness etc. We here, all do this. My family has been the recipient of many meals by friends and others and was so blessed by receiving that I truly never thought there might be a problem.

Now about this neighbor thing, I have long thought it was tragic that there seems to be no more neighborhoods. When I was little there were moms and kids and babies etc. Moms shared recipes, talked, gave each others kids ride to the pool etc. I miss this kind of life. Not that we were any of our neighbors good friends, but we were certainly neighborly.

I understand that economics and other issues have changed the family greatly but I think we all loose when our neighborhoods and our communities disappear.

I am moving to the country so will definitely only have a few neighbors but they are all very friendly. They loan tools, help each other with farm issues, share seeds, compare crops & harvests, etc.

I really love it and can't wait to be a country girl.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Bill V -

So glad to be a summer resident in Maine - nothing like "Mainers" - It's an adjustment for us each summer going from the fast paced, overly competitive part of Ct to Maine, nonetheless quite a welcome one.
One of my first interfaces was carrying an infant into Shaws and a woman going out of her way to retrieve a cart for me - In my town I have to watch my ankles as the carts rear up on them. Then when my shopping completed an employee helping me to the car

WE LOVE MAINE!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

the renter stigma is there. I do introduce myself to new tenants and welcome them, but only when they are outside anyway-- I wouldn't knock on their door and disturb their peace and quiet just so that they can meet me. The rental next door typically has a 4 month or less turn over. If it were longer, things may be diffferent.

I do love the idea of preparing a sheet of paper with important neighborhood numbers-- I'm going to do that next time we get a new neighbor.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

We have great neighbors. Chat over the fence, feed each other's animals while on vacation-type neighbors. We're friendly, but there's times I just want to disappear or blend.

I *totally* get not wanting to feel the need to see people or interact all the time. My DH works 13 hour days. There are many days I do the same. When I'm home, I usually don't even want to *speak*, or be spoken to. I'm drained. I've interacted with people all day. I've been in "go" mode. At home, I want to wear my fat-pants, take off my shoes, and just relax. I don't answer my phone, and I don't appreciate drop-by visitors.

Sometimes I just want to go outside and pull a weed or two, without having to stop to chat with neighbors.

And for the record, there have been homes that I would not have wanted baked goods from, but I would think the gesture sweet. I don't think that's snooty at all, and I think it's pretty dadgummed snooty as well to repeatedly tell someone else they're being snooty!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I love this thread because I have some inner conflict around it!

I currently live in a development where we all bought our homes new in 2000. Most of us are in close to the same stage of life, younger families, move up home. Many of the moms stay at home, so have more time to bond with one another. They seem to do all of that neighborly stuff and hanging out that you guys are talking about. I know all of the neighbors and are on neighborly good terms with them. However, I work full time and DH travels for a living, so I don't hang out with anyone!

What I have found is I really HATE the almost high schoolish cliquishness. All of the families are judged and commented on. Not in a mean way, really, but enough to be sure that if they are all talking about each other, you know they're talking about you too.

Up until recently, I didn't give a hoot. Then my little one started having some behavioral problems with adjusting to our recent moves (we moved away for 2 years). He became the talk. The "group" has boys his age, so suddenly no one could play at our house, and the kids weren't nice. Little ones don't have the same editors the parent do, so they often share what they hear at home.

In Hawaii, we were neighborly, but at different stages of life. There weren't kids to play with, so we had to import them, but home was a safe place where you didn't have to watch your back.

I much prefer the polite neighborly distance we had in Hawaii, the pretend we are all so close (until someone is a bit different) makes me ill.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

We bought land to build a new home but love the neighborhood we have so decided to do a huge remodel. We've not regretted it. We've lived here 24 years and are so lucky to have the neighborhood we have. We all help each other out in times of need (funerals, sickness, etc.) yet no one intrudes. I never have a neighbor drop in unannounced for a visit. None of us socialize with each other on a daily visit but we have a neighborhood book club that meets once a month, one neighbor usually hosts a Christmas party and DH & I usually host a summer potluck in our backyard. We all co-exist very nicely.

Last night we had a Neighborhood Watch meeting and the police officer was telling us how lucky we are to live here. Crime is virtually non-existent in our neighborhood yet the side of town we live in has some very rough areas. The police officer attributed it to our watch program, how we have a phone message tree, we watch each other's homes, etc. By the efforts we have all put in we have a safe neighborhood, a friendly neighborhood but no intrusive neighbors. I'm a very lucky girl!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I think it's pretty dadgummed snooty as well to repeatedly tell someone else they're being snooty!

why?


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Why? It implies there's something wrong with having that opinion. I don't think precautions about the origins of baked goods in non-monitored kitchens is wrong at all. It's a bit unnerving to think about it, having seen some people's standards (or lack thereof), though I still contend the gesture is sweet.

But to be told that it's "snooty" is rude and dismissive, as it seems to imply that you *shouldn't* have that opinion, or you would only have that opinion if you're too snobby. In turn, I find that dismissiveness to be snooty.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

This has developed into a very interesting thread! I haven't had new neighbors in a number of years. I don't think I would bake cookies as a welcome wagon thing -- too many people are allergic/dieting/whatever -- but I certainly would introduce myself.

As for accepting cookies from someone else, I'd be delighted to meet more neighbors who take the trouble to bake instead of serving store bought cookies! I've been to too many "catered by Costco" BBQs and parties! I presume that anyone who bakes does so because s/he cares about food, which means that s/he probably adheres to basic cleanliness standards...at least until proven otherwise. Besides, baking in a 350 degree oven will destroy all germs. Okay, so I'm snooty for homemade things....


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Why? It implies there's something wrong with having that opinion. I don't think precautions about the origins of baked goods in non-monitored kitchens is wrong at all. It's a bit unnerving to think about it, having seen some people's standards (or lack thereof), though I still contend the gesture is sweet.

But to be told that it's "snooty" is rude and dismissive, as it seems to imply that you *shouldn't* have that opinion, or you would only have that opinion if you're too snobby. In turn, I find that dismissiveness to be snooty.

hmm. interesting take. i think i was reacting more to *how* joanne said that she'd turn her nose up at homemade baked goods that a neighbor might bring over to her than to the actual idea that one might be cautious about accepting potentially disease-ridden baked goods.

it came off as snooty the way she said it. a less snooty way to say it might've been "we have some food allergies and sensitivities in our family, so we tend to be fairly cautious about eating food that people might offer up, although we certainly appreciate the kind gesture".

and as for calling it out being rude or dismissive or whatever, i'm sorry you feel that way. i tend to be like a bull in a china shop sometimes when i see behavior that i find rude or mean or offensive, and, especially in company that tends to be very conflict-evasive, that can sometimes ruffle feathers.

but this (the loss of community) is an issue that i feel quite strongly about and i believe it's worth ruffling a few feathers to point out the attitudes that are displayed by such a statement. one of the major reasons community is disappearing is this judgemental competition people wage so that they can feel superior to neighbors, co-workers, etc... it's part of a larger society-wide "pefection complex" that many people have as a result of advertising, media, etc, constantly pushing this idea that every aspect of your life has to be perfect, that we have to measure ourselves against celebrities wrt homes, clothes, weddings, looks, etc.

it's crazy-making stuff and i know a *lot* of people who end up driving themselves nuts because of it.

sneeringly looking down one's nose because their neighbor's kid drops a strawberry stem on the floor and citing that as an example of how slovenly and unclean they are is a perfect example. we use these sort of comparisons to build ourselves up in our own minds and make ourselves feel like we're better and that much closer to perfect.

but in the process, we distance ourselves from our community and further isolate ourselves, with the end result being that we have everything we could want, everything just-so, but still we feel unfulfilled, lonely, and wanting something more.

i'm speaking generally, of course, and extrapolating a lot from the actual real-life examples given in this topic, so please, nobody take offense. but these are real phenomena that have been studied and documented. it's a real problem in our society, so, yes, i'm going to continue to point out examples of this attitude when i see them, even if it ruffles some feathers and even if people find it "rude" or "snooty".

Besides, baking in a 350 degree oven will destroy all germs.

bingo. and the sugar content of most baked goods will effectively kill any harmful bacteria even if the item is contaminated after baking. sugar is a natural preservative because, due to a process called hygroscopy, sugar pulls moisture away from bacteria--they dehydrate and cannot survive in foods with high sugar content.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

A thought I had, and I don't even know if it's relevant: If you pass someone while walking out in the middle of nowhere, a wilderness, and you encounter someone, you'd certainly say hello. When you pass people in a city, you never do. It's a little like personal space. Might this be true: If you live rural, you talk. Burbs, less so. City, hardly ever.

My neighborhood is friendly, 4th of July and New Year's parties, conversations in the street. As an experiment to see how the Internet would help neighbors to communicate, I developed a web site, www.cuppasugar.com. (Really, this isn't an ad.) I thought that maybe the distance the Internet provides might encourage people to communicate with each other more, ask for favors, make recommendations for good contractors, neighborhood watch, etc. It might offer a venue for cooperation, but at a distance, without people showing up on each other's porches. About 20 people signed up on the site but there was only one post during the entire next year. But, maybe this says more about Internet use patterns than neighborhood community. It's true that people are busy and we're all rich enough to not need help.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I'm glad some of you/us are not neighbors! ;-p

Just a comment about gifts. When someone has taken the time to get a new neighbor a gift (whether it is home baked/made or purchased) it is done with the best of intentions and is a gesture of welcome. Accepting the gift in the same spirit is the only gracious way to respond. What the recipient does with the gift behind closed doors is their call.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Wow! Where did I say I would turn my nose up at anything? I would never do anything like that to someone who is being kind and generous.
I suppose you totally missed the ;-) at the end of my original post.

You, Mr. Ed, read what *you* wanted into my post and, without knowing me, judged me and decided who and what I am. Not very neighborly of you. :-P

Also, as a practitioner of the 'Five Second Rule' I don't think you could catergorize me as having a complex about germs, etc. :-)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I don't think anyone here would say no thanks to an offered gift at the door. However, I really like hearing what people really think (because we're online), rather than the polite answer given personally. I don't think that an opinion given here is snooty unless it is a personal attack.

Have you ever received a gift that you didn't like? However out of politeness, gave the giver the impression that you loved it. Then, thinking you loved the gift, they continued to give you more of the same. Then, you are in a group and it comes out that you don't care for lemon pie (or whatever it is) and you see the giver's face recognize that what she had been giving you for all these years wasn't what you actually like. It's not the best feeling.

It has never occured to me that some people are funny about home baked goods. Actually, it makes perfect sense to me - I'm not offended at all. So thinking about this, I can actually alter my holiday baking a little to alieviate concerns... It has been great food for thought! I may actually do an ingredient label that states something funny about the tempature used being high enough to kill anything!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Wow! Where did I say I would turn my nose up at anything? I would never do anything like that to someone who is being kind and generous. I suppose you totally missed the ;-) at the end of my original post.

you didn't actually use the words "turn up my nose", but your original statement was:

Oh, and no baked goods for me, thank you very much, unless I've seen the inside of your house and kitchen. ;-)

i saw your emoticon, but i didn't take it to mean that you didn't mean what you said about turning down baked goods from those whose kitchens hadn't been inspected for cleanliness.

sorry if i misinterpreted. that's part of the deal with online communications sometimes, i guess.

since everything else in your last post is also followed by emoticons, i suppose i'll just assume you don't mean any of it to be taken at face value. sigh. maybe it's best if i just avoid responding to your posts for a while.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

but this (the loss of community) is an issue that i feel quite strongly about and i believe it's worth ruffling a few feathers to point out the attitudes that are displayed by such a statement

And that, my dear edlakin, is exactly what I find snooty. Because *you* feel strongly about this issue, you feel it important to point out opinions that may not be your own in a disparaging or negative light. Again, the implication is that because we don't feel the same way about community that you do (sorry, lots of folks don't *want* that kind of community--me included), that the opinion needs changing, or at very least, it needs to be chastised.

It may be reverse snobbery, but it still smacks of snobbery to me. "I feel strongly about this issue, so I need to point the "error" in your thinking". It's presumptuous and rude, IMO, to expect everyone to think the exact same way you do.

"Community" is changing. EVERYTHING is changing. And while I like my neighbors, I don't have any desire to be in a neighborhood where our lives are closely intertwined. I'm zapped. And maintaning relationships takes time and work. And I really don't want to. So there.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Here's why I think "no baked goods for me, thank you very much..." is a snooty remark:

It implies, "I assume everyone's hygiene is inferior to mine until I have proof otherwise." That translates to "I'm superior, you're not." It doesn't give others the benefit of the doubt, nor does it see others as equals. That's being snooty.

I'm sure Joanie_B is a lovely person, didn't intend to come off snooty, & is shocked that anyone would judge her remarks as such. It's just another incident where what one writes conveys something one did not intend. She should have stated something like, "Of course, I appreciate the effort they put into baking and I thank them warmly, but I'm squeamish about eating food from strangers." Instead, what she wrote came off very strongly, and the emoticon was totally lost in the resulting blast & heat.

Am I being snooty for saying this? I don't think so. Judgemental is probably more accurate. But being judgemental is human nature. We all weigh other's ideas against our own.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Because *you* feel strongly about this issue, you feel it important to point out opinions that may not be your own in a disparaging or negative light. Again, the implication is that because we don't feel the same way about community that you do (sorry, lots of folks don't *want* that kind of community--me included), that the opinion needs changing, or at very least, it needs to be chastised.

good points, but the only thing i was disparaging or negative about was the comment about not accepting a kind gesture of baked goods until she'd ensured the person's kitchen was up to her standards.

as far as being negative about the loss of community-mindedness in neighbors, well, that's what this thread is about. the OP started the thread to "rant" about how unwelcoming their new neighbors were being. so if you don't want to hear negative opinions about unfriendly neighbors, then you might just be in the wrong thread.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Nah, not in the wrong thread. The OP's post was more of a "what the heck?" type post, wondering if others felt the same way.

I'm merely giving another opinion that does indeed answer what others may feel about the situation. The OP's original post was not saying that one neighborhood way is wrong, or "becoming lost", but rather just questioning what others thoughts are, and what they'd expect in her situation.

I didn't find her thread or her question confrontational, as I did yours, as she seemed to be just asking an opinion after stating an example. Your posts, on the other hand, seemed to imply that there truly *is* one right way to have a community, and the whole bit about it being your duty to ruffle feathers to drive home your point came off as a bit preachy and condescending.

As for my participation on this thread and others, I feel right at home, thankyouverymuch, and will continue to post where I have an interest.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Ok, maybe this will help - all of you who will turn down kind gestures of homemade baked goods if you are unsure how sanitary the giver is can kindly send them my way.

I love homemade sweets :)

Especially love them more now that Ed let me know the sugar kills the germs. I always knew there were innate benefits in sugar :)

I do find it a bit odd though that people would pass up someone's homemade cooking just because they haven't inspected that person's kitchen. Does that mean you eat nothing any co-worker at work brings in? Don't participate in office parties? Other get-togethers where people bring a dish? Etc, etc


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Your posts, on the other hand, seemed to imply that there truly *is* one right way to have a community, and the whole bit about it being your duty to ruffle feathers to drive home your point came off as a bit preachy and condescending.

i think that's a complete misrepresentation of what i actually said. but it's probably best to let it drop at this point.

i'm sorry you didn't like what i had to say, reno fan. peace.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

First, we had this discussion at school today. We talked about the breakdown of the family unit, and how it's affecting our school. As far as Florida goes, we have so many people coming and going now in our community, I can see were one could become "used" to people moving in and out. That being said, when our new neighbors moved in two weeks ago, I made them the most disgustingly (is that a word?) full of chocolate brownies that you have ever seen.

I grew up in NJ where I always wanted to be the "new kid" because they were few and far between and when they arrived, got all of the attention. Sometimes it seems that everyone has been new at one time or another down here. The other thing is that people used to pretty much stay put unless their job moved them. People are more adventurous these days and aren't afraid to pick up and move to a new place. Some have to move to try to start over and find a better life.

I know that I'm all over the place, but about the sanitary conditions, at school I have kids come in all of the time handing me a cookie because it's their birthday. They often lick their fingers after they hand me mine. I tell them thank you, sing Happy Birthday to them in front of my class in the music style of their choice (usually rap these days), thank them, and send them on their way. I put it on my desk, and after the class leaves, most of the time throw it out. I only keep it if they "offer" me one from the container and I can take it myself. Our principal put a ban on baked goods from home years back. They must be store bought and wrapped.

I've been teaching for 25 years, and I can tell you, I've had all kinds of things come in for me to serve to the kids. Many cupcakes came in on a sheet with no cover! It all made me very uncomfortable so I was sad and happy at the same time with the ban. I missed the thought of kids baking with their parents for the big day, but the thought of the hair in the cupcakes made it a better thing.

I can see where one might question what to eat or not to eat, but when someone takes the time to do something for you, you thank them from the bottom of your heart and tell them how delicious they were.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

When a new family moves in, I bring them a little Welcome to the neighborhood care package of a loaf of homebaked bread, a carton of salt and a bottle of local wine with a note:

Three blessings for you in your new home

Bread: That you will never be hungry
Salt: To recognize that life can be difficult
Wine: For good health, good cheer and many friends

Welcome to the Neighborhood

I include our name and phone number and a list of important phone numbers and municipal schedules (like trash and bulk item pick-up, annual town garage sale, which pizzarias deliver, local hospital, etc.)

We have a friendly neighborhood, but not overly chummy as we are in many different phases of life and have varied schedules. It's a great place to live.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I see some of the gestures that are kind, and I would always graciously except. however - I personally think it is inappropriate to alcohol, because someone may be an recovering alcoholic. The sweets are a very nice gesture - but I am always trying to watch my weight, and try and keep sweets out of my house (and I really don't love eating a strangers food either!).

By my Rant or advise to "friendly" neighbors, is please wait a couple of weeks before introducing yourselves. The following is probably one reason I avoid neighbors, as it is not the first time....

We closed on our new homes yesterday. at 6;30 PM I went there and started to work my butt off cleaning the house - on my hands and knees. I sweaty, dirty and tired. DH comes with a large truck load, and we start unloading.. it now after 9:00 PM. I pause for a moment to show DH a gap in the hardwood floor, which happens to now be under the dining room table. We are both on our knees, dirty, tired, just want to go home and sleep as soon as we get done, and then.. THE DOORBELL! Yes, our friendly neighbor comes over to introduce himself. I look like crap, and personally - it's annoying that I had to stand in the doorway making small chat. That's my vent..


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

So glad to be a summer resident in Maine - nothing like "Mainers" - It's an adjustment for us each summer going from the fast paced, overly competitive part of Ct to Maine, nonetheless quite a welcome one.
One of my first interfaces was carrying an infant into Shaws and a woman going out of her way to retrieve a cart for me - In my town I have to watch my ankles as the carts rear up on them. Then when my shopping completed an employee helping me to the car

WE LOVE MAINE!

jejvtr-- So you know exactly where I'm coming from!! Before Florida, I lived my whole life in the New Haven area (grew up in Orange). I started coming up here to visit in 1981, and from the very first time, I swore that if I ever had the chance, I'd move up here in a heartbeat! It's an entirely different way of life here. :-)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I don't think joanne ever said she wouldn't ACCEPT a gift of homebaked goods. It may have come across that way but I'm a believer that people don't set out to be rude and all she meant was that she wouldn't want to eat it. I'm sure if someone came to the door with a plate full of fresh from the oven cookies (mmmmmm) she wouldn't say to them, "well thanks for the gesture but unless you let me tour your kitchen right this very minute, and unless I find your kitchen to be spotless and free of cat hair, boogers and picked off scabs, you can just take these right back home". No. She would say something to the affect of, "how sweet, thank you so much", chat politely for a minute, shut the door, dump the plate in the trash, and a few days later either write a thank you note, return the plate in person, or call said neighbor and thank them for the "lovely gesture".

And yeah, baked in a 350 degree oven and containing sugar may kill bacteria, but what happens when you set those freshly baked cookies down on nasty counters or what happens when the baker wipes the snot off their nose and then proceeds to touch each cookie while transferring them to a portable dish or sneezes on them on her way over to your house or drops one on the floor her kitty litter using kitty just walked across and what if she is a believer in the "ten second rule" when your rule is more like 5 seconds...LOL!

Personally, I have no shame, I love a fresh cookie, I'll risk a little tummy upset for a good chocolate chip. But I understand why some wouldn't!

It's just different strokes for different folks! But I think I'm going to start looking for a summer home in Maine! ;o)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

wow i can't believe this OT post generated such spirited discussion, and here I am responding too.

People have their own lives and renofan presented a very good point. People also tend to move a lot more and work longer hours than before. Also gone are the days when the kid would leave a house in the morning and would come back at night, so of course it made sense to know the neighbors and the kids.

Upon moving here 5 years ago I didn't expect any cookie offerings or for somebody to knock on my door. We met in due time and we are all very fond of each other. But heck, we don't BBQ together or spend holidays together. I would never feel entitled to offers of meals during the kitchen remodeling!

Most of us had friends before moving, it is hard as it is to keep up with social events. I do not believe my neighbors are unfriendly people or that our neighborhood is unfriendly!

And finally, with respect to the cookies. A lot of people have dietary restrictions (diet, religious reasons), allergies (gluten, wheat, dairy), follow either vegan or vegetarian diets. I would not want to bring food to somebody w/o knowing what they can eat, it is just as bringing alcohol w/o knowing if the recipient could possibly be a recovering alcoholic. I would not want anybody's offerings for the same reason. it is the reality of life, not being snobby.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

rmlanza.....ROTFL!!!!
And thank you, too. :-)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

No prob joanie b (sorry about gettin' your name wrong!), just tryin' to smOOOOOOOOOOOOth the hackles. ;o)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I've LOVED reading this topic! It made me realize how odd our situation is, however...

My husband moved into our house a year before I moved to the town. He's a young junior faculty member at the local university and we were in a long distance relationship, so we spent most of our time at work or traveling. Since then, we've been busy with renovating and work. While we see that many people in our somewhat-woodland community of 15 houses or so seem to know eachother and go on walks around the block, we usually don't get home til after 8pm and are just about exhausted enough to eat, fall asleep and then get up to go to work the next morning. We haven't avoided our neighbors, but we don't really ever run into them, either.

Recently, we found out that our nearest neighbor has been complaining to the others that we didn't come introduce ourselves to HER! It turns out that she is elderly and not in great shape, but how would we have known that since from our perspective her house appeared to be empty? Is the new etiquette that we are supposed to read our neighbors minds?

Maybe after I go through tenure, we'll have a BBQ.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

A lot of people have dietary restrictions (diet, religious reasons), allergies (gluten, wheat, dairy), follow either vegan or vegetarian diets. I would not want to bring food to somebody w/o knowing what they can eat, it is just as bringing alcohol w/o knowing if the recipient could possibly be a recovering alcoholic. I would not want anybody's offerings for the same reason. it is the reality of life

i realize that this *is* a reality, but this kind of thinking is nearly paralyzing and if one starts getting caught up in it, there's nearly nothing one can do wrt relating to other people that might not be considered offensive or inconsiderate.

seriously--think about it...*anything* you could do or say has the potential to offend or trigger a negative reaction... "lived here long?"--what if they just got word of a transfer and are upset about having to leave? "do you have kids?"--what if they're infertile? "nice weather, huh?"--what if they're hard-core environmentalists who see warm clear weather as a symptom of global warming that will eventually kill us all?

(exaggerated for effect, but i think you can see what i'm getting at--if we constantly worry about how every action or statement might offend someone, we may as well lock ourselves in a room and never leave. it's crazy-making.)

personally, i think it's an excuse that people use to be more isolated, insulated, and unfriendly. so what if someone you give wine to is a recovering alcoholic? they'll simply pass the bottle along and thank you for the kind gesture, not take offense--how could you have known?

i think intentions are what count. if your intentions are to be kind and welcoming, it's not required that you take every possible food aversion, addiction, allergy, and lifestyle choice into account. seriously, what with nut allergies, wheat allergies, alcohol, soy, vegetarians, vegans, organic, etc, etc, there's practically nothing that you could offer everyone that would be "safe".


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

See here's the thing, it is intentions that count, absolutely. However, my intention to not bother or disturb you may still leave you offended that i didn't come by, while I was trying to do my best. The thing is there is never a right answer, just our best answer. In my family it was completely unacceptable to show up without calling first. It's just how I was raised. If you think that's terrible, take it up with my sweet 80 year old grandma! But maybe, the way she raised me (very polite I might add) leaves you cold.

What I try to do when my knickers get a little twisted, is to tell myself that person is doing the best they can. If that best isn't "my" way, I just know that we are different. With people moving so much it is possible that we have been raised with a greater variance in tradition than perhaps it used to be. (if everyone was from the same town, it's likely the traditions were similar) I know that everyone has a story, so I better not judge unless I want to be judged, and thanks but I'll pass on that.

I think we can always be safe giving the list of neighborhood contacts (great idea!) or fruit/veggies from the garden. I also think that baked goods are a sweet gesture, but may be tossed. I would rather skip the baking if that's the case. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of one neighbor who probably didn't eat my christmas toffee - their loss!

Thanks everyone for the dialog - it's been fun!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

i agree that this has been a fun discussion and would like to extend apologies/well-wishes to anyone who might have felt offended or put out by anything i've posted.

and, kailuamom, you can send me your christmas toffee--i promise to gladly eat it, even if you employ the five-second rule!


my intention to not bother or disturb you may still leave you offended that i didn't come by

we had a neighbor leave a plant with a note attached on our front porch once. that seems like a pretty good way to get around that one. and it put the ball in our court to call or come by once we got settled in, which i thought was a nice way of allowing for introductions without making us feel pressured during the hectic moving-in period.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Thanks! - I do employ the five second rule, but that is what we get to keep. Only the best gets given! My husband gets pretty clumsy during the holidays.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

It never occurred to me that my Welcome to the Neighborhood gesture would offend anyone. It never has either because we are friendly with all the recipients to this day.

Don't want to eat the bread because you think my house doesn't meet your cleanliness standards? Feed it to the birds.

Have high blood pressure and don't use salt? Toss it.

Don't/can't drink alcohol? Pass it on or pour it down the sink.

It's merely a gesture to tell people that their presence is welcome; that if they have a question or problem they are free to call me; that there is at least one family to whom they can smile and wave to in their new neighborhood if they choose.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

I agree - I never thought about not giving a gift due to dietary restrictions, which is probably because of my own ignorance since I don't have any.

Like someone said, everyone is different. We were brought up much less formal (and I don't think it is impolite). We used to have this Aunt drive 10 hours and show up unannounced on our doorstep with her German Shepard. I was a wee little one so I don't remember much... So, sometimes if I am out with the little tykes & bored stiff I might walk to a neighbors house unannounced just to say hi. If they don't answer and are home, I just assume they are busy or didn't hear the doorbell, no big deal.

It wouldn't bother me if someone came to my door unannounced. What bothers me a little bit more are those that say they are coming right over and an hour later still no sign (since my 4 year old will ask every 7 seconds when is X coming over...)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Become acquainted, then one can learn preferences of a neighbor. Not quite the same situation, but we received a big Honey Glazed Ham one Christmas from an oral surgeon to whom DH refers patients. We were nicely surprised and appreciated the gift very much. We are vegetarians, so DH gave it to his dental assistant (not re-gifted, he told her who gave it to us). They enjoyed the ham and so did we. No offence taken.


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forgot to add...

BTW, we never told the oral surgeon (so he would give us something we could use ourselves next Christmas).


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

There are always people walking my neighborhood with dogs and kids. Cannot work in the front yard productively because 2 or 3 will stop and chat. Have had plants left many times. A very friendly neighborhood in this respect and I appreciate each one traveling by.

I think people are far busier than used to be and their off time isn't talking over the fence as once was. This thread is a postive reminder for all to at least know who our neighbors are, remember kindness and give some small offer of help regardless of who they are, even if we do not know them or they treat us indiferently. It is nice to hear everyone's take on thier environments, along with the oddities.

It does elude me that not once has anyone ever offered to help me shovel snow when a foot shows up. I still do all necessary and hoping it continues. Although, if not for my grown kids, could probably go for days and no one would have a clue if I was still alive. Am in my late 60s and not everything is going to be perfect or happen overnight, but I do a darn good job at keeping my home well taken care of and love my yard.

I have a very friendly couple in their early 40s next door. But it took me a while to realize that the conversations were always started to end up complaining about some issue with me. One was about an old tree that was cut down in front with limbs/logs left until my son could help move them to a log pile in back. She was all chatty and then asked what/when I planned on doing something about them. Told her I had no clue at the moment, the way she talked didn't deserve an answer. There is never an offer of help, positive comment. So I stay away from her as much as possible, the conversations are totally lame and I always end up waiting for the catch.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

re cotehele's ham story & neighbors, we laugh at this story from our past:

We bought a home in New Orleans in '88 (talk about knowing your neighbors, everybody was in and out of each other's homes -- we loved it). The Previous Owner moved down the block. At Christmas, a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake was delivered to our door for the PO. The PO neglected to notify Collin Street Bakery or the giver of his change of address. We walked the fruitcake down the block & delivered it to the PO's doorstep. No response from PO. For the next 4 years, the PO's fruitcake gets delivered to our house and we dutifully delivered it to the PO. In 4 years, never a response from the PO. On the 5th year, we figured the PO must not care about the fruitcake because he's never changed the delivery address, never shown any indication that he cared even. So we ATE the fruitcake (delicious!). Sure enough, a week later, the doorbell rings: it's the PO. "Where's my fruitcake?" he asks!


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

awm03, haha! I guess we never know, especially if folks never say 'thanks' (We did send a thank you note.)


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

Don't want to eat the bread because you think my house doesn't meet your cleanliness standards? Feed it to the birds.

Have high blood pressure and don't use salt? Toss it.

Don't/can't drink alcohol? Pass it on or pour it down the sink.

Dian57, I wouldn't take offense from it. There are just some people who will look to find fault in anything anyone does, and won't be happy until they do. Just look at the political scene! You just keep doing what you're doing, and God bless you for it.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

This is a great thread and a great reminder for me to be thankful that I am close to all of my neighbors and forgiving of the things that have recently been driving me crazy about them! Being close to my neighbors is kind of like having a whole big, dysfunctional, extended family within spitting distance (we have tiny lots).

Yes, the people next door have loud parties outdoors until all hours, but she also rushed me to the hospital in an emergency once and is always good for a cup of sugar or an egg when I need one.

I'm a single mom and when we first moved here, I worked really long hours at my first law firm job. I would come home many (late) evenings to find all of the neighbors and their kids (and mine, with the babysitter) hanging outside, everyone's grills going, people spread out at a picnic table or three eating burgers. I would get out of my car and someone would hand me a burger and a beer. Can't beat that.

While I am the only single mom in the 'hood, there are two other women who have husbands who either travel a lot or work nights. We get together at least once per week, sometimes more, and pool our resources for dinner while the kids play.

From this group, I have formed a close network with 6 or 7 women. We go away for a weekend retreat every year, help with each others' kids, bring meals when people are sick, etc. And we all work full time outside the home - - this is not a relationship that can only be had by stay at home moms. I think the fact that we work full time makes it all the more important to have that network you can count on when juggling gets tough.

When I was recovering from surgery, two of my neighbors brought me dinner at the hospital, the others all came and either cleaned for me or brought food for the next several days. At one point I was having difficulty breathing (anesthesia reaction) and my doctor said to go to the ER. I called my best friend to ask if she or another friend could take me, and I kid you not, within 90 seconds one of them was flying through my front door. You don't get that kind of response time from EMS!

Another time, when DS was only 7, I was working at a firm 45 minutes away and a new babysitter missed meeting the camp bus to pick up my son. He neglected to call me, instead asking for a neighbor to help him look for my son (bus policy was to let the child off whether a parent was there or not). That neighbor called me at work instantly, which allowed me to get in touch with the bus company while the neighbor organized a search party. There were several elderly neighbors home, so they all went out looking for the next half hour, until the bus company called back to confirm that DS was, after all, still on the bus (the kind bus driver wouldn't let him off despite company policy).

These are only a few of hundreds of stories I could tell about us all helping each other in a pinch. I will also say that the emotional support we give each other through all of life's ups and downs is invaluable.

I would not have chosen all of these people to be friends with in other circumstances. We come from different backgrounds and have different interests. Frankly, very often we drive each other nuts with our differences of opinion or strong personalities. But living and, in some cases, raising our kids together has given us a sense of common purpose and understanding. If everything was to go to heck in a handbasket tomorrow, I couldn't choose a finer group of people to get through it with.


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RE: Totally OT: a rant about neighbors

We are ones that are not close to our neighbors. We wave and stop to talk on occasion but don't usually invite anyone over. In the past, we had one incident with an alcoholic neighbor that wanted to pick a fight with us. Luckily we were renting at the time and could just move when the situation become too hostile. I don't ever want to be in a position again where I don't feel comfortable in my own home.

We have noticed that the neighbors that do get friendly usually have a one-sided relationship--one party becomes a "user." We have noticed our neighbor's children knocking on their "friends" door at 6:30 in the morning in their underwear. The friends then became responsible for someone else's child until the parents came around to look for him. The neighbors also use the "friend's" car everytime they need to take theirs to the shop even though they are a two car home. The neighbor routinely goes to get the "friend" when he needs home maintenance done because he apparently can't do even the simplest of tasks (like taping cardboard over a broken window). The list just goes on and on. I don't need friends like that. We'll wave and be friendly and discuss the weather, but don't use me as your free babysitter, free handyman, free mechanic, etc.

We also don't always share the same lifestyle. My immediate neighbors are a younger couple and frequently invited us over to their yard in the evenings for drinks. We are lightweights when it comes to drinking and really don't imbibe during the week because we'll fall asleep. After begging off over and over they finally stopped asking. We're still friendly and wave over the fence and exchange pleasantries, but I don't want to be anyone's daily drinking buddy.

And we are kind of anti-social--I'll admit it. Friendly, but anti-social. We did bring a bottle of wine to the young neighbors when they moved in after we saw they were drinkers.


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